SPOTLIGHTED PODCAST ALERT (YOUR ARTICLE BEGINS A FEW INCHES DOWN)…
Announcers: Michael Cole and Corey Graves
This week, in lieu of the top three developments from last week, I give you the Payback results from this past Sunday pertinent to Smackdown:
We move past a crazy couple of weeks in WWE and head towards a more normal schedule as we get ready for Clash of Champions, slated for Sunday September 27. We know from Raw that Randy Orton will once again challenge Drew McIntyre for WWE Championship, and we’ll start getting things put into place from Smackdown starting tonight. Here’s what’s on tap in WWE’s preview:
It’s been a crazy couple of weeks on Smackdown, given Roman Reigns’ return at SummerSlam and his alignment with Paul Heyman. Heyman had long been the advocate for Reigns’ biggest adversary Brock Lesnar, who is no longer under contract to WWE. This past Sunday, he regained the Universal Championship by defeating incumbent champion “The Fiend” Bray Wyatt and Braun Strowman in a triple threat. Wyatt had just won the title from Braun at SummerSlam, and both men were attacked by a returning Roman to close out the show. It wasn’t your ordinary triple threat, as Roman did not sign the contract until mid-match as he made his way out to the ring with Heyman and inserted himself into the match. The contract was to have been signed last Friday, and it was by both Wyatt and Strowman, but apparently not by Reigns. To be fair we did not see him physically sign it at the end of the show, where he revealed his alignment with Heyman. He just said he would be at Payback, would be in the triple threat match, and will regain the Universal title.
Reigns begins his second run with the title he was forced to forfeit nearly two years ago where he revealed a relapse of leukemia. He does so in a much different way that what we have be accustomed, and thus we’ll see what unfolds tonight as we’ll hear from both the champion and his new advocate. Roman has been talking trash with some Twitter trolls:
Only reason I’m down your throat, is because you keep your mouth open. I’m the best performer of this generation period and the title is finally in the right hands for it to hold true value. https://t.co/E7PzVUP20D
— Roman Reigns (@WWERomanReigns) September 1, 2020
Frank’s Analysis: I know I’m cynical by nature, but let’s be honest. Lesnar is no longer under contract and they need something for Heyman to do. For me, this would have been a hell of a lot more impactful had they done it two to five years ago when Reigns was getting booed out of the building on a nightly basis. They could split up Heyman and Lesnar while Lesnar was still under contract and it would have been fine. That said, I still like this pairing (better late than never) and there are a ton of possibilities to which we can look forward in terms of stories and matches. I’m not sold Reigns is a full-blown heel yet, as he looked reluctant to enter that match late. I’m looking forward to an explanation of his actions, and he’s sure got the right guy by his side.
Roman Reigns needs a new challenger for the Universal Championship with Clash of Champions on the horizon.
Big E recently defeated Sheamus on Smackdown and at Payback this past Sunday. Matt Riddle defeated King Corbin at Payback after being in a feud on TV recently, however, Corbin attacked Riddle after the match. Tonight, these four men go at it in a fatal four-way to determine Roman’s next challenger. Sheamus is the only former world champion in this group having held the WWE Championship, World Heavyweight Championship, and when the titles were combined in 2015. Ironically, he cashed in Money in the Bank on Roman when he first won the WWE World Heavyweight Championship at Survivor Series. They feuded over the title through the end of the year. Matt Riddle’s only gold in WWE is the NXT Tag Team Championship. Corbin has held the U.S. Championship. Big E is a former Intercontinental Champion as well as a multiple time tag team champion with New Day. Here’s Big E in a WWE exclusive following Payback:
Frank’s Analysis: Sheamus and Corbin did lose their matches, so I don’t know how they deserve a chance to compete for the Universal Championship. I do understand though having your top guys on the show compete in a match to determine that challenger. I could see Big E getting the call here, which would be ironic considering how years ago Big E was Vince’s choice to get a big push while Roman was Triple H’s. I don’t care what they do here, just no Corbin please. We’ve seen enough of Corbin vs. Roman for a LONG time. I was wondering about A.J. Styles, but he tested positive for COVID-19 recently. For VIP members, Wade Keller covers this in his hotline today.
This past Sunday at Payback, Shayna Baszler & Nia Jax (Can I call them ShayJax? I think I will.) won their first WWE Women’s Tag Team Championship by defeating two-time champions Sasha Banks & Smackdown Women’s Champion Bayley. Tonight, Bayley & Sasha get a rematch to win the titles for the third time.
Last week, in advance of the title match Sunday, Bayley & Sasha came out and discussed what happened at SummerSlam. Bayley retained her Smackdown Women’s Championship over Asuka, but Sasha could not do the same with the Raw title. Bayley pointed out how Sasha has never retained a singles championship, causing Sasha to hang her head, but said they were in this together and stronger together. Shayna and Nia interrupted and showed their disdain for one another but said they would win the titles. This past Monday, they argued who was responsible for winning the titles on Sunday. Speaking of disarray, here’s Bayley & Sasha in a WWE exclusive and Shayna and Nia (ShayJax) in their photo shoot as champions (if you care about that sort of thing):
Frank’s Analysis: I don’t what to say any more about Bayley & Sasha. I’m not against them, it’s just we’ve talked so much about them and their potential breakup that I’m out of things to say. The only thing that’s possibly clear to me is that the breakup could be sooner rather than later. That said, I don’t see a switch back of the titles although (and I’m even tired of saying this) stranger things have happened.
Given the situation with Roman Reigns and Paul Heyman, I must say I’m looking forward to Smackdown. I’m also into what may happen with Sami Zayn and Jeff Hardy. I’m curious how they will handle Money in the Bank, considering Otis still holds the contract. They have time to have him cash in, but I don’t see him getting involved in the Universal Championship picture. Perhaps he gets drafted to Raw next month or loses it? Who knows, but there are certainly interesting stories to be told on Friday night.
Follow Frank on Twitter @FrankPeteani. Questions and discussion are welcome. Thank you for reading!
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